Alumna founds youth mentoring organization

first_imgJulian Jenkins, the senior director of regional recruiting for the company Next College Student Athlete and avid supporter of The Big Homie Project, said he has seen how inspirational Diep has been to community members in the East Palo Alto and greater Silicon Valley area.  Diep said The Big Homie Project is unique in that it not only works to inspire the youth in the area, but it also allows adults to see the impact they can have on students’ lives without it being dependent upon monetary donations or other financial help.  Diep, a 2018 graduate, spearheaded the program The Big Homie Project, in spring 2019 to provide opportunity for a demographic that often falls through the cracks. The program aims to connect rising high school juniors and seniors in the Boys & Girls Clubs of America with a “big homie” mentor and help marginalized students enter career fields where they are often underrepresented.  Where there are gaps in academic and career achievement for underprivileged kids in the Bay Area, alumna Jacqueline Diep works to build bridges.  Diep’s desire to help underprivileged youth is inspired by her own story: After growing up in foster care and struggling with homelessness, she credits the mentors throughout her life for achieving her goals. Diep said she believes healthy mentorship is the biggest contributor to a student’s success and drive. Diep said exposure was the first step to fulfilling the achievement gap that many underprivileged youth face, but success in college and career pursuits is not the only goal of The Big Homie Project. The organization also prioritizes opening doors to new experiences and hobbies for the students, such as joining sports teams or going to recreational centers in the area.  “When you’re able to visualize and see someone who looks like you in a position or doing something that you might want to do, it’s more [easily] obtainable,” Diep said.  “There’s a lot of people that want to give back and a lot of people that like giving back to young people but may not just know how to do it,” Jenkins said. “So [Diep] gives them a platform because she’s actively doing it.” Jacqueline Diep created the program to give back to her community in the Bay Area after her own difficult childhood. (Photo courtesy of Jacqueline Diep) Makayla Miller, a senior at Palo Alto High School and a student in The Big Homie Project, hopes to study psychology or social work and said she has found great guidance in her “big homie” Auriel August, a Stanford general surgery resident. Miller said having a mentor who she can personally relate to and see herself in keeps her motivated and focused.  Diep’s search for adults to mentor students goes further than their success; she looks for mentors who come from similar backgrounds and demographics as the students she aims to help, as she believes representation is a key component for students to thrive.  Diep hopes that through The Big Homie Project, she can give back the mentorship she received and provide essential guidance for students just like her.  “For me, the monetary exchange is you and the position that you’re in and the fact that you can actually help a kid and you can change someone’s life without having to open up your wallet,” Diep said.center_img “When you see people on TV, you’re like, ‘Oh, that’s a one in a million chance that could happen for me,’” Miller said. “But when it’s someone that is in your community, someone that you can call on the phone and talk to if you want to, then it’s more like, ‘I can continue pursuing what I want to pursue and I can get to where I want to get because this person did.’” “Some of these mentorship programs [are] very generic and it’s like, ‘Oh, let me help you with homework or let me help you with college applications,’ but [our goal is to] peel back that layer a little bit more,” Diep said. “I realized that I would not be where I am at today, I would not be a high school graduate, a college graduate, let alone a USC graduate, had it not been for my social worker, my teacher, mentors, people who just really looked out for me,” Diep said.  “For most people who come from either underserved communities or come from the background I come from, we don’t talk about it,” Diep said. “It’s never ever a ‘poor me’ story because that will never ever get you out of the circumstance that you’re in. You have to be able to just push forward. And what I realized was that [with] a lot of kids in the community, especially East Palo Alto, I saw a mirror image of myself, basically.”  Diep said she is certain volunteering as a mentor for marginalized youth and creating networking and bonding opportunities for them is far more impactful than any amount of money could be.  “My goal is that every kid figures out a way out of a community like East Palo Alto,” Diep said. “Facebook is a few blocks away and you have all these companies that are a few blocks away and yet you have this community over there that’s struggling.” “Kids — if they’re not given exposure to certain things, they’re not gonna know what it is,” Diep said. “But through rock climbing, [Miller’s] confidence was built and she’s now a very advanced climber because of The Big Homie Project.”  “Yeah, of course you can give them money … but time and physically being there … there’s not much to replace that,” Jenkins said. Working at tech giants such as Facebook and Google, Diep said she would often get caught up in the day-to-day grind that defines the startup capital but wanted to extend herself further than just her job and give back to her community. Looking toward her immediate surrounding area, Diep centered The Big Homie Project on a demographic she felt needed the most attention — youth in East Palo Alto, a predominantly Black and Latinx city in the Bay Area that is often stigmatized as dangerous.  Rock climbing was never something Miller would have considered taking up as a hobby had it not been for her mentor organizing an outing to the local Planet Granite facility.  CORRECTION: A previous version of this article said that the organization name was Boys & Girls Clubs of America. It is the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Peninsula. The Daily Trojan regrets this error.last_img read more

Madrid Derby: Real Test for Los Blancos Title Ambition

first_imgMadrid’s hope of winning the La Liga for the first time in five years will be put to test today as neighbours, Atletico, storm the Santiago Bernabeu for the Madrid derby. A win for the White Angels will be a big boost to their title ambition while a draw or even a loss will increase fierce rival -Barcelona’s optimism of snatching the title from leaders, who top the table with two points and a game at handReal Madrid can show how serious their bid to land a first La Liga title in five years really is when they host local rivals Atletico Madrid today in the midst of the best run of results in the campaign by Diego Simeone’s side.Real ended a three-season drought against their neighbours earlier on in the campaign with a 3-0 win at the Vicente Calderon in November, thanks to a hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo, a display Zinedine Zidane’s side have struggled to top. The European champions’ destiny is in their hands as they lead holders Barcelona by two points while also having a game in hand, though doubts linger about their true quality.Real’s play has been littered with lapses of concentration in defence and they have often had to rely on late escape acts to see them through difficult games.Atletico have won all three of their previous visits to the Santiago Bernabeu in the league and head there after beating Real Sociedad 1-0 on Tuesday to record five consecutive domestic wins for the first time this season.Zidane made wholesale changes to his team in Wednesday’s 4-2 win at Leganes in preparation for the derby, resting Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos.Marco Asensio and Alvaro Morata shone in the absence of the team’s big hitters to help put Real up 3-0 after 25 minutes but familiar frailties were visible at the back as they conceded twice in two minutes before adding a fourth after the break.Real will find it tougher to compensate for any similar errors against Atletico, who have conceded just one goal in their last six games in all competitions.Atletico defender Juanfran believes his side are far better prepared to face their neighbours than when they last met.“It’s clear they were better than us in that game but now it’s another story, a different moment. I hope we can stay on this great run and get something positive, although we know it’ll be difficult because they are top and are having an incredible season,” Juanfran told reporters.“We had a bad run around November and December and that has made us stronger and we’ve shown once again that Atletico always rises against adversity,” added Juanfran, who missed the crucial penalty in the shoot-out when Atletico lost to Real in the 2016 Champions League final.Meanwhile, Antoine Griezmann believes Atletico can inflict the worst possible start to a season defining two-weeks for Real. Griezmann scored the winner last season as Atletico became the first side to ever win away to Real in the league for three consecutive seasons.“I see us as favourites. I believe in my teammates and the coach. We have to win more for the fans than for the points. Madrid played great and caused us a lot of damage. Now it is a different story. We know it is going to be difficult, but I believe in my teammates. We are more complete now,” said a bullish Griezmann on Thursday.Inflicting a damaging blow on Real’s bid for the first league title in five years would be some measure of sweet revenge for Atletico. However, Real have yet to taste defeat at home in La Liga this season.That record will be put fully to the test over the next fortnight as Barcelona visit on March 23.In between times Madrid also face old foes Bayern Munich for a place in the Champions League semifinals.Real captain Sergio Ramos has been Atletico’s bete noire in recent times, scoring in both the Champions League finals between the sides.But he has called on Real to not rest on their laurels and go for more history by becoming the first side to retain the Champions League in 27 years and end Barca’s stranglehold on La Liga.“You can’t constantly live with what you have won in the past. You have to have ambition and belief to win titles. As of today we can win both the Champions League and La Liga,” he told Madrid’s website.Both sides are in great form having each won their last five La Liga outings.However, Zidane and Simeone’s plans could be affected by their upcoming Champions League ties with Bayern and Leicester City respectively.Zidane is expected to welcome back a host of first team regulars rested for Wednesday’s 4-2 win over Leganes, including Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.By contrast, Simeone is expected to name an unchanged side from the one that beat Real Sociedad 1-0 on Tuesday with Fernando Torres partnering Griezmann up front due to Kevin Gameiro’s continued absence through injury.Barcelona will be waiting to take advantage of any favours Atletico could do for them when they visit Malaga hours after the derby on the back of a 3-0 win over Sevilla.Coach Luis Enrique said Barcelona’s first half performance was “the display we had dreamt about”.The Catalans will be without Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Pique for the visit to Malaga, who picked up only their second win of 2017 by winning 1-0 at Sporting Gijon on Wednesday to move eight points clear of the relegation zone. Any slip up from Real would allow Barcelona to move top when they travel to Malaga later today. Enrique is expected to rest some of his star names ahead of their Champions League quarterfinal.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

One killed after vehicle hit by train in West Palm Beach

first_imgFriday evening, a person was killed after driving their car was hit by a Virgin Trains USA (formerly Brightline) train, according to West Palm Beach police.Police say a 2008 black Corvette was traveling west and stopped for the train crossing along Avon Road when a southbound train passed and the gate arms remained down.The driver of the vehicle tried to go around the gates and a northbound train crashed into the car, police said.The name of the person killed has not been released at this time.This story is developing.last_img